“The workload problem in schools is not going away and is arguably getting worse. The obsession with performance tables remains, and this is a driver for so much that is negative in the working culture of schools.

“Damian Hinds makes passing reference to TALIS in today’s statement but neglects to mention the unflattering findings of this respected international survey. It shows that working hours are on the rise, with an unacceptable working week of 52.1 hours for primary teachers in England and 49.3 hours in lower secondary. Even part-time teachers work more than 35 hours per week. They are also far more likely to spend those hours on non-teaching tasks.

“Although we welcome any reductions in the areas of marking and planning, information from our members suggests that they’re looking in the wrong direction.

“We also know that schools are having to prepare for the new inspection framework, and the new baseline and times tables tests. We’re not convinced that the Department for Education has a good understanding of all the demands on schools that come from other government departments such as the Department of Health.

“We have seen three education secretaries since the final recommendations of the working groups were issued. Progress is painfully slow, but work must continue to give head teachers the confidence to reject the unnecessary tasks surrounding marking and data collection which so heavily weigh down on teachers. Not only is it a risk to their wellbeing, but it is distorting the curriculum.

“Damian Hinds is right to note that there’s still a long way to go. Until he reduces national pressures of accountability, funding and teacher recruitment, the workload crisis will continue.”

ENDS

2019-106-NEU